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Answering a Skeptic

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  • solidstatefusion
    How would you all answer this skeptic on nanotechnology? Thanks for your article. I haven t read too much on the subject, but one of the obstacles I see to
    Message 1 of 22 , Dec 12, 2009
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      How would you all answer this skeptic on nanotechnology?>

      "Thanks for your article. I haven't read too much on the subject, but one of the obstacles I see to making this a practical reality is the energy it would take to make things. I would imagine that is why solar is one of the prefered choices. That said, you would need an enormous amount of stored solar energy to make even a small object. Here are some of the reasons I see for this.


      When we manufacture something, let's say a watch to keep things small, you first need the correct amounts of raw materials...various metals, glass, perhaps plastics or silicon if it has a computer chip in it. In a tradtional factory, you simply fashion the raw materials into the parts you need (often made in several other factories dealing with different raw materials) and then assemble them according to the design spec for that watch.


      With nano tech, you will still need the same raw materials in molecular rather than atomic form. The reason is that the raw materials just would likely not be as abundant in nature in a pure state as you would need. Every metal has to be refined to make it as pure as possible before it can be used. This means you now need the energy to decompose molecules into their respective atoms and separate them into their own storage containers. The molecular decomposition is probably were chemical eneregy comes in. The problem now is that you introduce danger during what I'll call the "un-manufacturing" process due to the unstable nature of many elements and the use of the chemicals needed to achieve this.


      Once you have your elements separated, you now need to supply the energy to run the machine that will inject the correct amounts of each to fashion the molecules and compounds containing mixtures of molecules (basically getting back to your original raw materials), and assemble them correctly.


      I think that the computer processing required for this would be far greater than we currently have available as well. I could just imagine Google's entire server farm of several thousand networked computers being needed to make that one watch over a period of several hours or even several days. It can take a full day to render a 2-hour video from the raw source on my Mac Pro running a 2.93 GHz quad-core processor and 8 GB of RAM.


      Now let's take a step backward and consider what it would take if you could use "anything" to make something with nano tech. We'll put in my old running shoes and get out a steaming cup of hot chocolate. You have just dramatically increased the energy, size of machine, and time/processing as well as danger involved. Now you are no longer talking about breaking apart molecules into atoms and reforming them, but now you have to change non-edible plastics and rubbers into edible water and chocolate. You are going subatomic now and removing or adding electrons. Forget about unstable elements...now we have a potential nuclear explosion on our hands. It would take tremendous energy to break away an electron from the atom. Then you have the stray electron floating around causing a release of nuclear energy. Keep in mind that for every electron you strip away from an atom, you need to take away a proton in most cases to maintain a stable atom. If that weren't impossible enough, try taking loose electrons and protons (which shouldn't exist on their own) and cramming them into an atom to form a heavier element. You are looking at a recipe for atom smashing, aka a nuclear reactor, no matter how you look at it.


      I don't believe that nano tech in the form of 3D printers will be able to give Captain Pickard his cup of hot chocolate on the USS Enterprise, but it may be most practical in the form of nano machines in the medical field, for example, to eliminate a virus from the body or repair a damaged blood vessel, dissolve a blood clot, repair damaged cartilage in a knee, etc. Of course there are many dangers to this as well. Many disseases could be cured, but new ones could be created either unintentionally or intentionally for terrorist means. For many medical conditions, nano tech will never be able to do better than what the human body can already do through adult stem cell treatments. Just imagine getting an injection of nano machines meant to dissolve a blood clot, but instead you react differently to it and end up with anemia or worse like internally bleeding to death.
      "
    • Chris Phoenix
      These are good questions. First, the proposals do require supplying the needed chemical elements - no atom smashing. Plastic and food and plants have mostly
      Message 2 of 22 , Dec 12, 2009
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        These are good questions. First, the proposals do require supplying the needed chemical elements - no atom smashing. Plastic and food and plants have mostly the same elements, but you couldn't turn rocks into food.

        Second, the feedstock supply might be prepared by traditional, reasonably efficient chemical processes, and only need nanotech for the final purification steps, which would not require much power.

        Third, the mechanochemical synthetic operations can be reasonably efficient (on the order of combustion energy) even for robot arm systems with careful design, and somewhat more efficient for mill-style systems.

        Fourth, it is true that we can't afford nearly one CPU cycle per atom. But with modular design, computations can be re-used a lot.

        Bottom line: These are good questions and reasonable concerns - and they have been thought of and (at least conceptually) solved - and the solutions are pretty simple to outline, and need to be studied in detail, but don't appear brittle to me. A lot of info on them can be found scattered through my Primitive Nanofactory paper.

        Chris

        On Dec 12, 2009 8:27 AM, "solidstatefusion" <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:

         

        How would you all answer this skeptic on nanotechnology?>

        "Thanks for your article. I haven't read too much on the subject, but one of the obstacles I see to making this a practical reality is the energy it would take to make things. I would imagine that is why solar is one of the prefered choices. That said, you would need an enormous amount of stored solar energy to make even a small object. Here are some of the reasons I see for this.

        When we manufacture something, let's say a watch to keep things small, you first need the correct amounts of raw materials...various metals, glass, perhaps plastics or silicon if it has a computer chip in it. In a tradtional factory, you simply fashion the raw materials into the parts you need (often made in several other factories dealing with different raw materials) and then assemble them according to the design spec for that watch.

        With nano tech, you will still need the same raw materials in molecular rather than atomic form. The reason is that the raw materials just would likely not be as abundant in nature in a pure state as you would need. Every metal has to be refined to make it as pure as possible before it can be used. This means you now need the energy to decompose molecules into their respective atoms and separate them into their own storage containers. The molecular decomposition is probably were chemical eneregy comes in. The problem now is that you introduce danger during what I'll call the "un-manufacturing" process due to the unstable nature of many elements and the use of the chemicals needed to achieve this.

        Once you have your elements separated, you now need to supply the energy to run the machine that will inject the correct amounts of each to fashion the molecules and compounds containing mixtures of molecules (basically getting back to your original raw materials), and assemble them correctly.

        I think that the computer processing required for this would be far greater than we currently have available as well. I could just imagine Google's entire server farm of several thousand networked computers being needed to make that one watch over a period of several hours or even several days. It can take a full day to render a 2-hour video from the raw source on my Mac Pro running a 2.93 GHz quad-core processor and 8 GB of RAM.

        Now let's take a step backward and consider what it would take if you could use "anything" to make something with nano tech. We'll put in my old running shoes and get out a steaming cup of hot chocolate. You have just dramatically increased the energy, size of machine, and time/processing as well as danger involved. Now you are no longer talking about breaking apart molecules into atoms and reforming them, but now you have to change non-edible plastics and rubbers into edible water and chocolate. You are going subatomic now and removing or adding electrons. Forget about unstable elements...now we have a potential nuclear explosion on our hands. It would take tremendous energy to break away an electron from the atom. Then you have the stray electron floating around causing a release of nuclear energy. Keep in mind that for every electron you strip away from an atom, you need to take away a proton in most cases to maintain a stable atom. If that weren't impossible enough, try taking loose electrons and protons (which shouldn't exist on their own) and cramming them into an atom to form a heavier element. You are looking at a recipe for atom smashing, aka a nuclear reactor, no matter how you look at it.

        I don't believe that nano tech in the form of 3D printers will be able to give Captain Pickard his cup of hot chocolate on the USS Enterprise, but it may be most practical in the form of nano machines in the medical field, for example, to eliminate a virus from the body or repair a damaged blood vessel, dissolve a blood clot, repair damaged cartilage in a knee, etc. Of course there are many dangers to this as well. Many disseases could be cured, but new ones could be created either unintentionally or intentionally for terrorist means. For many medical conditions, nano tech will never be able to do better than what the human body can already do through adult stem cell treatments. Just imagine getting an injection of nano machines meant to dissolve a blood clot, but instead you react differently to it and end up with anemia or worse like internally bleeding to death.
        "

      • Erin Casson
        Good points, Chris. Yes, the original discussion had to do with a General Purpose Nano Factory . I assume based on various designs that a more limited
        Message 3 of 22 , Dec 12, 2009
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          Good points, Chris. Yes, the original discussion had to do with a "General Purpose Nano Factory". I assume based on various designs that a more limited assembly system, say able to only assemble stiff hydrocarbons, or sapphire structures, would be easier to design and build.
           
          Nano Factories and Society
          By Erin Casson
           
           
          All matter is made from atoms (molecules are clumps of atoms), from the cells of our bodies to the gasses of the stars and the steel crystals of our structural beams.
          Ever since man began his journey, people have manipulated atoms in  large thundering herds, smashing stones together to form cutting tools, melting metals and carving wood. We advanced to new materials like polymers and ceramics and high tech alloys, but the core principles are still the same. The new technology, molecular nano technology, will change all of that.
           
          The nano factory is a system (there can be many forms of it) that essentially takes in atoms and rearranges them with atomic precision (atom by atom molecule by molecule, all molecules in known positions) under human control to form a desired material or product. Because all materials are made from atoms, any chemically-stable structure, ultimately, can be made, from steaks and carrots to diamonds and cars, and everything in between.
           
          This technology is already here in embryonic form, and is advancing rapidly. Week by week, month by month, and year by year, we can look at various science news websites and periodicals and see the technology of molecular manufacturing fast approaching. The question is, can we harness the benefits while lessening the downsides and dangers?
           
          A nanofactory would be powered by solar electric or chemical energy, and would work in some ways like a printer, but a three dimensional printer able to print out solid objects. The computer blueprint will have the positions of the molecules programmed into it, and the molecular assembly devices within will rearrange the atoms such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, boron, iron, silicon, and aluminum, into the desired product.
           
          Because one nanofactory can be programmed to make another nanofactory, identical to itself, this technology is SELF REPLICATING. Why are potatoes so cheap and cars so expensive? Potatoes are more complex and intricate than cars, they have thousands of different genes. But potatoes reproduce, replicate, when provided with the right enviroment and energy, cars do not. If cars could replicate or the car factories could replicate, cars too would be dirt cheap.
           
           
           


          --- On Sat, 12/12/09, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:

          From: Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...>
          Subject: Re: [CRNtalk] Answering a Skeptic
          To: CRNtalk@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009, 10:34 PM



          These are good questions. First, the proposals do require supplying the needed chemical elements - no atom smashing. Plastic and food and plants have mostly the same elements, but you couldn't turn rocks into food.
          Second, the feedstock supply might be prepared by traditional, reasonably efficient chemical processes, and only need nanotech for the final purification steps, which would not require much power.
          Third, the mechanochemical synthetic operations can be reasonably efficient (on the order of combustion energy) even for robot arm systems with careful design, and somewhat more efficient for mill-style systems.
          Fourth, it is true that we can't afford nearly one CPU cycle per atom. But with modular design, computations can be re-used a lot.
          Bottom line: These are good questions and reasonable concerns - and they have been thought of and (at least conceptually) solved - and the solutions are pretty simple to outline, and need to be studied in detail, but don't appear brittle to me. A lot of info on them can be found scattered through my Primitive Nanofactory paper.
          Chris
          On Dec 12, 2009 8:27 AM, "solidstatefusion" <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:

           
          How would you all answer this skeptic on nanotechnology?>

          "Thanks for your article. I haven't read too much on the subject, but one of the obstacles I see to making this a practical reality is the energy it would take to make things. I would imagine that is why solar is one of the prefered choices. That said, you would need an enormous amount of stored solar energy to make even a small object. Here are some of the reasons I see for this.

          When we manufacture something, let's say a watch to keep things small, you first need the correct amounts of raw materials...various metals, glass, perhaps plastics or silicon if it has a computer chip in it. In a tradtional factory, you simply fashion the raw materials into the parts you need (often made in several other factories dealing with different raw materials) and then assemble them according to the design spec for that watch.

          With nano tech, you will still need the same raw materials in molecular rather than atomic form. The reason is that the raw materials just would likely not be as abundant in nature in a pure state as you would need. Every metal has to be refined to make it as pure as possible before it can be used. This means you now need the energy to decompose molecules into their respective atoms and separate them into their own storage containers. The molecular decomposition is probably were chemical eneregy comes in. The problem now is that you introduce danger during what I'll call the "un-manufacturing" process due to the unstable nature of many elements and the use of the chemicals needed to achieve this.

          Once you have your elements separated, you now need to supply the energy to run the machine that will inject the correct amounts of each to fashion the molecules and compounds containing mixtures of molecules (basically getting back to your original raw materials), and assemble them correctly.

          I think that the computer processing required for this would be far greater than we currently have available as well. I could just imagine Google's entire server farm of several thousand networked computers being needed to make that one watch over a period of several hours or even several days. It can take a full day to render a 2-hour video from the raw source on my Mac Pro running a 2.93 GHz quad-core processor and 8 GB of RAM.

          Now let's take a step backward and consider what it would take if you could use "anything" to make something with nano tech. We'll put in my old running shoes and get out a steaming cup of hot chocolate. You have just dramatically increased the energy, size of machine, and time/processing as well as danger involved. Now you are no longer talking about breaking apart molecules into atoms and reforming them, but now you have to change non-edible plastics and rubbers into edible water and chocolate. You are going subatomic now and removing or adding electrons. Forget about unstable elements...now we have a potential nuclear explosion on our hands. It would take tremendous energy to break away an electron from the atom. Then you have the stray electron floating around causing a release of nuclear energy. Keep in mind that for every electron you strip away from an atom, you need to take away a proton in most cases to maintain a stable atom. If that weren't impossible enough, try taking loose electrons and protons (which shouldn't exist on their own) and cramming them into an atom to form a heavier element. You are looking at a recipe for atom smashing, aka a nuclear reactor, no matter how you look at it.

          I don't believe that nano tech in the form of 3D printers will be able to give Captain Pickard his cup of hot chocolate on the USS Enterprise, but it may be most practical in the form of nano machines in the medical field, for example, to eliminate a virus from the body or repair a damaged blood vessel, dissolve a blood clot, repair damaged cartilage in a knee, etc. Of course there are many dangers to this as well. Many disseases could be cured, but new ones could be created either unintentionally or intentionally for terrorist means. For many medical conditions, nano tech will never be able to do better than what the human body can already do through adult stem cell treatments. Just imagine getting an injection of nano machines meant to dissolve a blood clot, but instead you react differently to it and end up with anemia or worse like internally bleeding to death.
          "




        • Chris Phoenix
          I like your writing. You ve boiled down the various ideas into really simple straightforward phrasing. A couple of suggestions: Some might argue that stars are
          Message 4 of 22 , Dec 15, 2009
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            I like your writing. You've boiled down the various ideas into really simple straightforward phrasing.

            A couple of suggestions: Some might argue that stars are not make out of atoms - they are plasma, which is atom soup with pieces knocked off.

            Your sentence about carrots and steaks might be read to imply that a single nanofactory could make those as well as diamondoid. Bio-stuff is actually going to be quite hard to make. At least if it has to contain actual viable cells (a carrot top will keep growing if you put it in a dish of water). Food will probably be made with artificial and simple micro-structures to give it approximately the correct texture, and a small subset of the thousands of bio-molecules to give it approximately the correct taste and nutrient value. I don't even know if it will be made with an atom-by-atom nanofactory, or with a series of "lab on a chip" bulk-chemical plants that feed into a microtech food-shaper. Gaah. The good news is that nanomedicine should help us understand what molecules we need to supply - but I suspect it'd be a while before one could be fully healthy on a diet of pure nano-food.

            Chris

            On Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 8:30 PM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
             

            Good points, Chris. Yes, the original discussion had to do with a "General Purpose Nano Factory". I assume based on various designs that a more limited assembly system, say able to only assemble stiff hydrocarbons, or sapphire structures, would be easier to design and build.
             
            Nano Factories and Society
            By Erin Casson
             
             
            All matter is made from atoms (molecules are clumps of atoms), from the cells of our bodies to the gasses of the stars and the steel crystals of our structural beams.
            Ever since man began his journey, people have manipulated atoms in  large thundering herds, smashing stones together to form cutting tools, melting metals and carving wood. We advanced to new materials like polymers and ceramics and high tech alloys, but the core principles are still the same. The new technology, molecular nano technology, will change all of that.
             
            The nano factory is a system (there can be many forms of it) that essentially takes in atoms and rearranges them with atomic precision (atom by atom molecule by molecule, all molecules in known positions) under human control to form a desired material or product. Because all materials are made from atoms, any chemically-stable structure, ultimately, can be made, from steaks and carrots to diamonds and cars, and everything in between.
             
            This technology is already here in embryonic form, and is advancing rapidly. Week by week, month by month, and year by year, we can look at various science news websites and periodicals and see the technology of molecular manufacturing fast approaching. The question is, can we harness the benefits while lessening the downsides and dangers?
             
            A nanofactory would be powered by solar electric or chemical energy, and would work in some ways like a printer, but a three dimensional printer able to print out solid objects. The computer blueprint will have the positions of the molecules programmed into it, and the molecular assembly devices within will rearrange the atoms such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, boron, iron, silicon, and aluminum, into the desired product.
             
            Because one nanofactory can be programmed to make another nanofactory, identical to itself, this technology is SELF REPLICATING. Why are potatoes so cheap and cars so expensive? Potatoes are more complex and intricate than cars, they have thousands of different genes. But potatoes reproduce, replicate, when provided with the right enviroment and energy, cars do not. If cars could replicate or the car factories could replicate, cars too would be dirt cheap.
             
             
             


            --- On Sat, 12/12/09, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:

            From: Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...>
            Subject: Re: [CRNtalk] Answering a Skeptic
            To: CRNtalk@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009, 10:34 PM




            These are good questions. First, the proposals do require supplying the needed chemical elements - no atom smashing. Plastic and food and plants have mostly the same elements, but you couldn't turn rocks into food.
            Second, the feedstock supply might be prepared by traditional, reasonably efficient chemical processes, and only need nanotech for the final purification steps, which would not require much power.
            Third, the mechanochemical synthetic operations can be reasonably efficient (on the order of combustion energy) even for robot arm systems with careful design, and somewhat more efficient for mill-style systems.
            Fourth, it is true that we can't afford nearly one CPU cycle per atom. But with modular design, computations can be re-used a lot.
            Bottom line: These are good questions and reasonable concerns - and they have been thought of and (at least conceptually) solved - and the solutions are pretty simple to outline, and need to be studied in detail, but don't appear brittle to me. A lot of info on them can be found scattered through my Primitive Nanofactory paper.
            Chris
            On Dec 12, 2009 8:27 AM, "solidstatefusion" <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:

             
            How would you all answer this skeptic on nanotechnology?>

            "Thanks for your article. I haven't read too much on the subject, but one of the obstacles I see to making this a practical reality is the energy it would take to make things. I would imagine that is why solar is one of the prefered choices. That said, you would need an enormous amount of stored solar energy to make even a small object. Here are some of the reasons I see for this.

            When we manufacture something, let's say a watch to keep things small, you first need the correct amounts of raw materials...various metals, glass, perhaps plastics or silicon if it has a computer chip in it. In a tradtional factory, you simply fashion the raw materials into the parts you need (often made in several other factories dealing with different raw materials) and then assemble them according to the design spec for that watch.

            With nano tech, you will still need the same raw materials in molecular rather than atomic form. The reason is that the raw materials just would likely not be as abundant in nature in a pure state as you would need. Every metal has to be refined to make it as pure as possible before it can be used. This means you now need the energy to decompose molecules into their respective atoms and separate them into their own storage containers. The molecular decomposition is probably were chemical eneregy comes in. The problem now is that you introduce danger during what I'll call the "un-manufacturing" process due to the unstable nature of many elements and the use of the chemicals needed to achieve this.

            Once you have your elements separated, you now need to supply the energy to run the machine that will inject the correct amounts of each to fashion the molecules and compounds containing mixtures of molecules (basically getting back to your original raw materials), and assemble them correctly.

            I think that the computer processing required for this would be far greater than we currently have available as well. I could just imagine Google's entire server farm of several thousand networked computers being needed to make that one watch over a period of several hours or even several days. It can take a full day to render a 2-hour video from the raw source on my Mac Pro running a 2.93 GHz quad-core processor and 8 GB of RAM.

            Now let's take a step backward and consider what it would take if you could use "anything" to make something with nano tech. We'll put in my old running shoes and get out a steaming cup of hot chocolate. You have just dramatically increased the energy, size of machine, and time/processing as well as danger involved. Now you are no longer talking about breaking apart molecules into atoms and reforming them, but now you have to change non-edible plastics and rubbers into edible water and chocolate. You are going subatomic now and removing or adding electrons. Forget about unstable elements...now we have a potential nuclear explosion on our hands. It would take tremendous energy to break away an electron from the atom. Then you have the stray electron floating around causing a release of nuclear energy. Keep in mind that for every electron you strip away from an atom, you need to take away a proton in most cases to maintain a stable atom. If that weren't impossible enough, try taking loose electrons and protons (which shouldn't exist on their own) and cramming them into an atom to form a heavier element. You are looking at a recipe for atom smashing, aka a nuclear reactor, no matter how you look at it.

            I don't believe that nano tech in the form of 3D printers will be able to give Captain Pickard his cup of hot chocolate on the USS Enterprise, but it may be most practical in the form of nano machines in the medical field, for example, to eliminate a virus from the body or repair a damaged blood vessel, dissolve a blood clot, repair damaged cartilage in a knee, etc. Of course there are many dangers to this as well. Many disseases could be cured, but new ones could be created either unintentionally or intentionally for terrorist means. For many medical conditions, nano tech will never be able to do better than what the human body can already do through adult stem cell treatments. Just imagine getting an injection of nano machines meant to dissolve a blood clot, but instead you react differently to it and end up with anemia or worse like internally bleeding to death.
            "







            --
            Chris Phoenix
            cphoenix@...
            650-776-5195

            Executive Coach
            Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org

          • Erin Casson
            Thank you, Chris, I appreciate your comments and suggestions! I m considering writing a short and very basic book on molecular nanotechnology, more like a
            Message 5 of 22 , Dec 15, 2009
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              Thank you, Chris, I appreciate your comments and suggestions!
              I'm considering writing a short and very basic book on molecular nanotechnology, more like a booklet, to have mass-printed so more people could get the basic concepts down. I would want to be very conservative and not make wild outlandish claims, ofcourse. Is this a good idea? I would want to get permission from various people in the field before I published things with their names, like the work of Drexler etc. Any idea how I would do that?
               


              --- On Tue, 12/15/09, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:

              From: Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...>
              Subject: Re: [CRNtalk] Answering a Skeptic
              To: CRNtalk@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2009, 4:38 PM



              I like your writing. You've boiled down the various ideas into really simple straightforward phrasing.

              A couple of suggestions: Some might argue that stars are not make out of atoms - they are plasma, which is atom soup with pieces knocked off.

              Your sentence about carrots and steaks might be read to imply that a single nanofactory could make those as well as diamondoid. Bio-stuff is actually going to be quite hard to make. At least if it has to contain actual viable cells (a carrot top will keep growing if you put it in a dish of water). Food will probably be made with artificial and simple micro-structures to give it approximately the correct texture, and a small subset of the thousands of bio-molecules to give it approximately the correct taste and nutrient value. I don't even know if it will be made with an atom-by-atom nanofactory, or with a series of "lab on a chip" bulk-chemical plants that feed into a microtech food-shaper. Gaah. The good news is that nanomedicine should help us understand what molecules we need to supply - but I suspect it'd be a while before one could be fully healthy on a diet of pure nano-food.

              Chris

              On Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 8:30 PM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
               
              Good points, Chris. Yes, the original discussion had to do with a "General Purpose Nano Factory". I assume based on various designs that a more limited assembly system, say able to only assemble stiff hydrocarbons, or sapphire structures, would be easier to design and build.
               
              Nano Factories and Society
              By Erin Casson
               
               
              All matter is made from atoms (molecules are clumps of atoms), from the cells of our bodies to the gasses of the stars and the steel crystals of our structural beams.
              Ever since man began his journey, people have manipulated atoms in  large thundering herds, smashing stones together to form cutting tools, melting metals and carving wood. We advanced to new materials like polymers and ceramics and high tech alloys, but the core principles are still the same. The new technology, molecular nano technology, will change all of that.
               
              The nano factory is a system (there can be many forms of it) that essentially takes in atoms and rearranges them with atomic precision (atom by atom molecule by molecule, all molecules in known positions) under human control to form a desired material or product. Because all materials are made from atoms, any chemically-stable structure, ultimately, can be made, from steaks and carrots to diamonds and cars, and everything in between.
               
              This technology is already here in embryonic form, and is advancing rapidly. Week by week, month by month, and year by year, we can look at various science news websites and periodicals and see the technology of molecular manufacturing fast approaching. The question is, can we harness the benefits while lessening the downsides and dangers?
               
              A nanofactory would be powered by solar electric or chemical energy, and would work in some ways like a printer, but a three dimensional printer able to print out solid objects. The computer blueprint will have the positions of the molecules programmed into it, and the molecular assembly devices within will rearrange the atoms such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, boron, iron, silicon, and aluminum, into the desired product.
               
              Because one nanofactory can be programmed to make another nanofactory, identical to itself, this technology is SELF REPLICATING. Why are potatoes so cheap and cars so expensive? Potatoes are more complex and intricate than cars, they have thousands of different genes. But potatoes reproduce, replicate, when provided with the right enviroment and energy, cars do not. If cars could replicate or the car factories could replicate, cars too would be dirt cheap.
               
               
               


              --- On Sat, 12/12/09, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:

              From: Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...>
              Subject: Re: [CRNtalk] Answering a Skeptic
              To: CRNtalk@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009, 10:34 PM




              These are good questions. First, the proposals do require supplying the needed chemical elements - no atom smashing. Plastic and food and plants have mostly the same elements, but you couldn't turn rocks into food.
              Second, the feedstock supply might be prepared by traditional, reasonably efficient chemical processes, and only need nanotech for the final purification steps, which would not require much power.
              Third, the mechanochemical synthetic operations can be reasonably efficient (on the order of combustion energy) even for robot arm systems with careful design, and somewhat more efficient for mill-style systems.
              Fourth, it is true that we can't afford nearly one CPU cycle per atom. But with modular design, computations can be re-used a lot.
              Bottom line: These are good questions and reasonable concerns - and they have been thought of and (at least conceptually) solved - and the solutions are pretty simple to outline, and need to be studied in detail, but don't appear brittle to me. A lot of info on them can be found scattered through my Primitive Nanofactory paper.
              Chris
              On Dec 12, 2009 8:27 AM, "solidstatefusion" <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:

               
              How would you all answer this skeptic on nanotechnology?>

              "Thanks for your article. I haven't read too much on the subject, but one of the obstacles I see to making this a practical reality is the energy it would take to make things. I would imagine that is why solar is one of the prefered choices. That said, you would need an enormous amount of stored solar energy to make even a small object. Here are some of the reasons I see for this.

              When we manufacture something, let's say a watch to keep things small, you first need the correct amounts of raw materials...various metals, glass, perhaps plastics or silicon if it has a computer chip in it. In a tradtional factory, you simply fashion the raw materials into the parts you need (often made in several other factories dealing with different raw materials) and then assemble them according to the design spec for that watch.

              With nano tech, you will still need the same raw materials in molecular rather than atomic form. The reason is that the raw materials just would likely not be as abundant in nature in a pure state as you would need. Every metal has to be refined to make it as pure as possible before it can be used. This means you now need the energy to decompose molecules into their respective atoms and separate them into their own storage containers. The molecular decomposition is probably were chemical eneregy comes in. The problem now is that you introduce danger during what I'll call the "un-manufacturing" process due to the unstable nature of many elements and the use of the chemicals needed to achieve this.

              Once you have your elements separated, you now need to supply the energy to run the machine that will inject the correct amounts of each to fashion the molecules and compounds containing mixtures of molecules (basically getting back to your original raw materials), and assemble them correctly.

              I think that the computer processing required for this would be far greater than we currently have available as well. I could just imagine Google's entire server farm of several thousand networked computers being needed to make that one watch over a period of several hours or even several days. It can take a full day to render a 2-hour video from the raw source on my Mac Pro running a 2.93 GHz quad-core processor and 8 GB of RAM.

              Now let's take a step backward and consider what it would take if you could use "anything" to make something with nano tech. We'll put in my old running shoes and get out a steaming cup of hot chocolate. You have just dramatically increased the energy, size of machine, and time/processing as well as danger involved. Now you are no longer talking about breaking apart molecules into atoms and reforming them, but now you have to change non-edible plastics and rubbers into edible water and chocolate. You are going subatomic now and removing or adding electrons. Forget about unstable elements...now we have a potential nuclear explosion on our hands. It would take tremendous energy to break away an electron from the atom. Then you have the stray electron floating around causing a release of nuclear energy. Keep in mind that for every electron you strip away from an atom, you need to take away a proton in most cases to maintain a stable atom. If that weren't impossible enough, try taking loose electrons and protons (which shouldn't exist on their own) and cramming them into an atom to form a heavier element. You are looking at a recipe for atom smashing, aka a nuclear reactor, no matter how you look at it.

              I don't believe that nano tech in the form of 3D printers will be able to give Captain Pickard his cup of hot chocolate on the USS Enterprise, but it may be most practical in the form of nano machines in the medical field, for example, to eliminate a virus from the body or repair a damaged blood vessel, dissolve a blood clot, repair damaged cartilage in a knee, etc. Of course there are many dangers to this as well. Many disseases could be cured, but new ones could be created either unintentionally or intentionally for terrorist means. For many medical conditions, nano tech will never be able to do better than what the human body can already do through adult stem cell treatments. Just imagine getting an injection of nano machines meant to dissolve a blood clot, but instead you react differently to it and end up with anemia or worse like internally bleeding to death.
              "







              --
              Chris Phoenix
              cphoenix@...
              650-776-5195

              Executive Coach
              Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org




            • Erin Casson
              I would like you all to give your views on how nanotechnology can be used to improve cutlery and knives. Obviously one place would be diamondoid blades that
              Message 6 of 22 , Dec 16, 2009
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                I would like you all to give your views on how nanotechnology can be used to improve cutlery and knives. Obviously one place would be diamondoid blades that can cut better than steel, are harder and also tough, ie, not brittle.How about a fullerene knife blade?
                 
                 

              • Chris Phoenix
                To me, this seems like a strange question. It seems obvious that nanotech will be able to improve knives quite a lot. Beyond that, you have to get into
                Message 7 of 22 , Dec 16, 2009
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                  To me, this seems like a strange question. It seems obvious that nanotech will be able to improve knives quite a lot. Beyond that, you have to get into questions of product design.

                  A throwing knife has to be heavy.

                  A cutlery knife has to be easy to clean.

                  For some jobs, no knife can beat a deli meat slicer.

                  For weapons, knives may become obsolete (though they haven't yet, despite guns) and may have to contend with presently-unknown new types of armor.

                  Specify the question better; divide it into at least four sub-problems that can be answered with numbers, such as hydrophobicity of surfaces, wear rate of the cutting edge, materials to be cut... 

                  "How can I make a better knife with nanotech" is like "How can I make a better stuffed animal with nanotech." But "How can nanotech contribute to food safety by making surfaces - including knife blades and edges - that are easy to clean" is an interesting question.

                  Chris


                  On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 7:00 AM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
                   


                  I would like you all to give your views on how nanotechnology can be used to improve cutlery and knives. Obviously one place would be diamondoid blades that can cut better than steel, are harder and also tough, ie, not brittle.How about a fullerene knife blade?
                   
                   




                  --
                  Chris Phoenix
                  cphoenix@...
                  650-776-5195

                  Executive Coach
                  Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org

                • Erin Casson
                  Very interesting points, Chris, thank you. Regarding surfaces and cleaning/corrosion resistance, I wonder if this would work for early nanotech: We already
                  Message 8 of 22 , Dec 16, 2009
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                    Very interesting points, Chris, thank you.
                    Regarding surfaces and cleaning/corrosion resistance, I wonder if this would work for early nanotech: We already have nano surface treatments for say cloth, that use the "Lotus Effect", which uses nanostructures to keep dirt particles from adhering to the surface. Perhaps something similiar could be done for cutlery and dishes?
                    We would want something that prevents the buildup of iron oxide, too.
                     
                     


                    --- On Wed, 12/16/09, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:

                    From: Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...>
                    Subject: Re: [CRNtalk] Knives and Nanotechnology
                    To: CRNtalk@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 4:23 PM



                    To me, this seems like a strange question. It seems obvious that nanotech will be able to improve knives quite a lot. Beyond that, you have to get into questions of product design.

                    A throwing knife has to be heavy.

                    A cutlery knife has to be easy to clean.

                    For some jobs, no knife can beat a deli meat slicer.

                    For weapons, knives may become obsolete (though they haven't yet, despite guns) and may have to contend with presently-unknown new types of armor.

                    Specify the question better; divide it into at least four sub-problems that can be answered with numbers, such as hydrophobicity of surfaces, wear rate of the cutting edge, materials to be cut... 

                    "How can I make a better knife with nanotech" is like "How can I make a better stuffed animal with nanotech." But "How can nanotech contribute to food safety by making surfaces - including knife blades and edges - that are easy to clean" is an interesting question.

                    Chris


                    On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 7:00 AM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
                     

                    I would like you all to give your views on how nanotechnology can be used to improve cutlery and knives. Obviously one place would be diamondoid blades that can cut better than steel, are harder and also tough, ie, not brittle.How about a fullerene knife blade?
                     
                     




                    --
                    Chris Phoenix
                    cphoenix@...
                    650-776-5195

                    Executive Coach
                    Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org




                  • Erin Casson
                    Here is another possibility. In Larry Niven s science fiction books there is an ancient alien race that made what he calls a Variable Sword . This is a
                    Message 9 of 22 , Dec 17, 2009
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                      Here is another possibility. In Larry Niven's science fiction books there is an ancient alien race that made what he calls a "Variable Sword". This is a broomhandle shaped grip that has a spool of ultrafine strong wire or fiber within it. When activated, the wire expands/telescopes outward, and has a ball at the end. An electrical field generated from a battery within surrounds the wire, making a light-saber like device, without needing esoteric physics to explain it. The resulting monomolecular wire can cut through nearly anything except for a similiar structure.
                       
                      Could molecular nanotech make such a thing possible?
                       
                      One of my concerns is for our troops out there in the field. Kevlar and other materials are good, but, they have their limits, especially when it comes to protection from the improvised explosive devices, IED's, favored by terrorists. There is an armor called Dragon Skin, which is composed of layers of silicon carbide ceramic connected together, but, what are some methods that early and more advanced nanotech can be used to protect the soldiers and others?
                       
                      Perhaps some type of aerogel combined with layers of nanofibers that absorb the explosive shock and dissipate the intense heat of the IED?
                       
                       

                    • Chris Phoenix
                      Erin... I m not aware of any work on using electrical fields this way. A lot of science fiction uses common-sounding science terms, like electrical field,
                      Message 10 of 22 , Dec 17, 2009
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                        Erin... I'm not aware of any work on using electrical fields this way. A lot of science fiction uses common-sounding science terms, like "electrical field," but if you look closely there's no substance. 

                        Also, monomolecular wires aren't strong enough to cut stuff at human scale. Even if they're strong for their diameter (being monomolecular doesn't necessarily make them stronger) they are not strong compared with an ordinary 100-micron metal wire. When you try to cut something with a wire, you're trying to break the object along a long distance of the wire, thus requiring a lot of force to do the simultaneous damage. The thinness of the wire only helps a little. So a monomolecular wire might be great for slicing bacteria, but will not work for slicing people.

                        By asking questions drawn from science fiction, you are asking people to do a lot of work for you. First, sorting through the questions to figure out which concepts need to be argued with. Then, doing the math to see what works and what doesn't, and why it doesn't. Then, explaining it in terms a non-scientist can understand.

                        If you stick to explanations from scientists, you can put them in language that makes sense to non-scientists. That is a good thing. But if you do the same thing with science fiction, then you are spreading misinformation. Seeing that you're an effective communicator, I worry that others will take your science fiction ideas as accurate, without being able to separate them from your science ideas. So I hope you will separate them, and not talk about science fiction ideas as though they are real. The vast majority of them are not. And, they're not in subtle ways. To explain everything that's wrong with the variable sword would take me several hours. I'd much rather you simply didn't present it as an example at all.

                        Chris

                        On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 6:52 AM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
                         

                        Here is another possibility. In Larry Niven's science fiction books there is an ancient alien race that made what he calls a "Variable Sword". This is a broomhandle shaped grip that has a spool of ultrafine strong wire or fiber within it. When activated, the wire expands/telescopes outward, and has a ball at the end. An electrical field generated from a battery within surrounds the wire, making a light-saber like device, without needing esoteric physics to explain it. The resulting monomolecular wire can cut through nearly anything except for a similiar structure.
                         
                        Could molecular nanotech make such a thing possible?
                         
                        One of my concerns is for our troops out there in the field. Kevlar and other materials are good, but, they have their limits, especially when it comes to protection from the improvised explosive devices, IED's, favored by terrorists. There is an armor called Dragon Skin, which is composed of layers of silicon carbide ceramic connected together, but, what are some methods that early and more advanced nanotech can be used to protect the soldiers and others?
                         
                        Perhaps some type of aerogel combined with layers of nanofibers that absorb the explosive shock and dissipate the intense heat of the IED?
                         
                         




                        --
                        Chris Phoenix
                        cphoenix@...
                        650-776-5195

                        Executive Coach
                        Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org

                      • Erin Casson
                        This is a very good point, Chris, thank you. In general I do try to stay as conservative as possible on these matters, sticking to what is known, such as the
                        Message 11 of 22 , Dec 17, 2009
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                          This is a very good point, Chris, thank you. In general I do try to stay as conservative as possible on these matters, sticking to what is known, such as the known material properties of substances (ie, telling people about diamondoid and fullerene composites, and similiar structures).
                           
                          Two very good papers/information I found, and would like to share with you and others are these:
                           
                          and
                           
                           
                           
                           


                          --- On Thu, 12/17/09, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:

                          From: Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...>
                          Subject: Re: [CRNtalk] Nanotech, Cutlery, Armor.
                          To: CRNtalk@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Thursday, December 17, 2009, 10:54 AM



                          Erin... I'm not aware of any work on using electrical fields this way. A lot of science fiction uses common-sounding science terms, like "electrical field," but if you look closely there's no substance. 

                          Also, monomolecular wires aren't strong enough to cut stuff at human scale. Even if they're strong for their diameter (being monomolecular doesn't necessarily make them stronger) they are not strong compared with an ordinary 100-micron metal wire. When you try to cut something with a wire, you're trying to break the object along a long distance of the wire, thus requiring a lot of force to do the simultaneous damage. The thinness of the wire only helps a little. So a monomolecular wire might be great for slicing bacteria, but will not work for slicing people.

                          By asking questions drawn from science fiction, you are asking people to do a lot of work for you. First, sorting through the questions to figure out which concepts need to be argued with. Then, doing the math to see what works and what doesn't, and why it doesn't. Then, explaining it in terms a non-scientist can understand.

                          If you stick to explanations from scientists, you can put them in language that makes sense to non-scientists. That is a good thing. But if you do the same thing with science fiction, then you are spreading misinformation. Seeing that you're an effective communicator, I worry that others will take your science fiction ideas as accurate, without being able to separate them from your science ideas. So I hope you will separate them, and not talk about science fiction ideas as though they are real. The vast majority of them are not. And, they're not in subtle ways. To explain everything that's wrong with the variable sword would take me several hours. I'd much rather you simply didn't present it as an example at all.

                          Chris

                          On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 6:52 AM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
                           
                          Here is another possibility. In Larry Niven's science fiction books there is an ancient alien race that made what he calls a "Variable Sword". This is a broomhandle shaped grip that has a spool of ultrafine strong wire or fiber within it. When activated, the wire expands/telescopes outward, and has a ball at the end. An electrical field generated from a battery within surrounds the wire, making a light-saber like device, without needing esoteric physics to explain it. The resulting monomolecular wire can cut through nearly anything except for a similiar structure.
                           
                          Could molecular nanotech make such a thing possible?
                           
                          One of my concerns is for our troops out there in the field. Kevlar and other materials are good, but, they have their limits, especially when it comes to protection from the improvised explosive devices, IED's, favored by terrorists. There is an armor called Dragon Skin, which is composed of layers of silicon carbide ceramic connected together, but, what are some methods that early and more advanced nanotech can be used to protect the soldiers and others?
                           
                          Perhaps some type of aerogel combined with layers of nanofibers that absorb the explosive shock and dissipate the intense heat of the IED?
                           
                           




                          --
                          Chris Phoenix
                          cphoenix@...
                          650-776-5195

                          Executive Coach
                          Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org




                        • Erin Casson
                          What surprises me is that even today there are still those who deny that mechanosynthesis is possible, even though there are abundant proofs of this from
                          Message 12 of 22 , Jan 13, 2010
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                            What surprises me is that even today there are still those who deny that mechanosynthesis is possible, even though there are abundant proofs of this from nature and experimental efforts achieved in various labs. The skeptics are both the uneducated and the educated. One person told me "Noone will ever learn how to mass produce carbon nanotubes in abundant amounts like we mass produce other polymers." I asked why he made this claim, he said "Its too hard, too difficult a structure."
                             
                            Another individual, this one a degreed biologist, insisted that while it is possible to have fully artificial human-designed enzymes working in water, the concept of diamondoid mechanosynthesis in nanofactories is "as ridiculous as warp drive".
                             
                            When I pointed out various pieces of evidence such as the controlled mechanochemical bonding of carbon and oxygen atoms  and Dip Pen Nanotech, and the DNA machines of Ned Seeman, all he could say is "Until I see it I won't believe it can be done."
                             
                            Chris and all, what are some good proofs and pieces of evidence you would bring up in such a discussion?
                             
                            Someone else says "buckytubes will never be allowed because they are like asbestos to the body, poison." But that is not proven. Also, diamondoid, sapphire, and other components are biochemically inert as shown by Robert Freitas and others.
                             
                             

                          • Chris Phoenix
                            Sounds like you re already bringing up good pieces of evidence. Some people simply don t want to believe that a new thing is possible. I think it s more a
                            Message 13 of 22 , Jan 26, 2010
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                              Sounds like you're already bringing up good pieces of evidence. Some people simply don't want to believe that a new thing is possible. I think it's more a matter of personality and emotion than of reasoning.

                              Perhaps, if their objection is just that it's too new and undemonstrated, it would be useful to talk about synthetic biology or recent advances in synthetic chemistry, like the boron chemistry that Drexler just wrote about on Metamodern.

                              Or, just don't worry about it. Not everyone has to believe it'll work.

                              On buckytube toxicity - I would not be quick to dismiss it just because it's unproven. After all, that's what the MM skeptics are doing.

                              In both cases, it may be useful to talk about all the different pathways and techniques that can accomplish molecular manufacturing. As long as the theoretical basis is sound - which it is - then practical problems, whether of synthesis or of toxicity, can be overcome.

                              Chris

                              On Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 7:14 AM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
                               

                              What surprises me is that even today there are still those who deny that mechanosynthesis is possible, even though there are abundant proofs of this from nature and experimental efforts achieved in various labs. The skeptics are both the uneducated and the educated. One person told me "Noone will ever learn how to mass produce carbon nanotubes in abundant amounts like we mass produce other polymers." I asked why he made this claim, he said "Its too hard, too difficult a structure."
                               
                              Another individual, this one a degreed biologist, insisted that while it is possible to have fully artificial human-designed enzymes working in water, the concept of diamondoid mechanosynthesis in nanofactories is "as ridiculous as warp drive".
                               
                              When I pointed out various pieces of evidence such as the controlled mechanochemical bonding of carbon and oxygen atoms  and Dip Pen Nanotech, and the DNA machines of Ned Seeman, all he could say is "Until I see it I won't believe it can be done."
                               
                              Chris and all, what are some good proofs and pieces of evidence you would bring up in such a discussion?
                               
                              Someone else says "buckytubes will never be allowed because they are like asbestos to the body, poison." But that is not proven. Also, diamondoid, sapphire, and other components are biochemically inert as shown by Robert Freitas and others.
                               
                               




                              --
                              Chris Phoenix
                              cphoenix@...
                              650-776-5195

                              Executive Coach
                              Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org

                            • Erin Casson
                              Thank you, Chris, that is a very good method. In regards to bootstrapping, if you were to label one as easier and one as more difficult, would you say
                              Message 14 of 22 , Jan 26, 2010
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                                Thank you, Chris, that is a very good method.
                                In regards to bootstrapping, if you were to label one as "easier" and one as more difficult, would you say building assembler and molecular positioner systems from: 1 "Dry" materials like molecular building blocks and synthetic AFM tip chemistries, or, engineering existing biological systems such as bacteria, which is easier and which is harder?

                                --- On Tue, 1/26/10, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:

                                From: Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...>
                                Subject: Re: [CRNtalk] Answering Nanotech Skeptics
                                To: CRNtalk@yahoogroups.com
                                Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 4:38 PM



                                Sounds like you're already bringing up good pieces of evidence. Some people simply don't want to believe that a new thing is possible. I think it's more a matter of personality and emotion than of reasoning.

                                Perhaps, if their objection is just that it's too new and undemonstrated, it would be useful to talk about synthetic biology or recent advances in synthetic chemistry, like the boron chemistry that Drexler just wrote about on Metamodern.

                                Or, just don't worry about it. Not everyone has to believe it'll work.

                                On buckytube toxicity - I would not be quick to dismiss it just because it's unproven. After all, that's what the MM skeptics are doing.

                                In both cases, it may be useful to talk about all the different pathways and techniques that can accomplish molecular manufacturing. As long as the theoretical basis is sound - which it is - then practical problems, whether of synthesis or of toxicity, can be overcome.

                                Chris

                                On Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 7:14 AM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
                                 
                                What surprises me is that even today there are still those who deny that mechanosynthesis is possible, even though there are abundant proofs of this from nature and experimental efforts achieved in various labs. The skeptics are both the uneducated and the educated. One person told me "Noone will ever learn how to mass produce carbon nanotubes in abundant amounts like we mass produce other polymers." I asked why he made this claim, he said "Its too hard, too difficult a structure."
                                 
                                Another individual, this one a degreed biologist, insisted that while it is possible to have fully artificial human-designed enzymes working in water, the concept of diamondoid mechanosynthesis in nanofactories is "as ridiculous as warp drive".
                                 
                                When I pointed out various pieces of evidence such as the controlled mechanochemical bonding of carbon and oxygen atoms  and Dip Pen Nanotech, and the DNA machines of Ned Seeman, all he could say is "Until I see it I won't believe it can be done."
                                 
                                Chris and all, what are some good proofs and pieces of evidence you would bring up in such a discussion?
                                 
                                Someone else says "buckytubes will never be allowed because they are like asbestos to the body, poison." But that is not proven. Also, diamondoid, sapphire, and other components are biochemically inert as shown by Robert Freitas and others.
                                 
                                 




                                --
                                Chris Phoenix
                                cphoenix@...
                                650-776-5195

                                Executive Coach
                                Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org




                              • Erin Casson
                                I ve been following the work of Craig Venter and others for some time now, those developing synthetic DNA, synthetic cells, and reengineering bacteria and
                                Message 15 of 22 , Jan 26, 2010
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                                  I've been following the work of Craig Venter and others for some time now, those developing synthetic DNA, synthetic cells, and reengineering bacteria and viruses for human use. I see this as a major route to molecular assembly, because once you can manipulate structures at that level, who is to say you couldn't bootstrap an assembler system based on drier harder materials? You could perhaps get synthetic cells to grow diamond fibers or buckytubes, or perhaps silicate structures, like diatoms do.
                                   
                                   

                                • Chris Phoenix
                                  Depends what you want to assemble. For large-scale manufactured engineered products, I suspect that dry materials will be easier to build high-performance
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Jan 26, 2010
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                                    Depends what you want to assemble. For large-scale manufactured engineered products, I suspect that "dry" materials will be easier to build high-performance products with.

                                    Chris

                                    On Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 6:32 PM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
                                     

                                    Thank you, Chris, that is a very good method.
                                    In regards to bootstrapping, if you were to label one as "easier" and one as more difficult, would you say building assembler and molecular positioner systems from: 1 "Dry" materials like molecular building blocks and synthetic AFM tip chemistries, or, engineering existing biological systems such as bacteria, which is easier and which is harder?

                                    --- On Tue, 1/26/10, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:

                                    From: Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...>
                                    Subject: Re: [CRNtalk] Answering Nanotech Skeptics
                                    To: CRNtalk@yahoogroups.com
                                    Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 4:38 PM



                                    Sounds like you're already bringing up good pieces of evidence. Some people simply don't want to believe that a new thing is possible. I think it's more a matter of personality and emotion than of reasoning.

                                    Perhaps, if their objection is just that it's too new and undemonstrated, it would be useful to talk about synthetic biology or recent advances in synthetic chemistry, like the boron chemistry that Drexler just wrote about on Metamodern.

                                    Or, just don't worry about it. Not everyone has to believe it'll work.

                                    On buckytube toxicity - I would not be quick to dismiss it just because it's unproven. After all, that's what the MM skeptics are doing.

                                    In both cases, it may be useful to talk about all the different pathways and techniques that can accomplish molecular manufacturing. As long as the theoretical basis is sound - which it is - then practical problems, whether of synthesis or of toxicity, can be overcome.

                                    Chris

                                    On Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 7:14 AM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
                                     
                                    What surprises me is that even today there are still those who deny that mechanosynthesis is possible, even though there are abundant proofs of this from nature and experimental efforts achieved in various labs. The skeptics are both the uneducated and the educated. One person told me "Noone will ever learn how to mass produce carbon nanotubes in abundant amounts like we mass produce other polymers." I asked why he made this claim, he said "Its too hard, too difficult a structure."
                                     
                                    Another individual, this one a degreed biologist, insisted that while it is possible to have fully artificial human-designed enzymes working in water, the concept of diamondoid mechanosynthesis in nanofactories is "as ridiculous as warp drive".
                                     
                                    When I pointed out various pieces of evidence such as the controlled mechanochemical bonding of carbon and oxygen atoms  and Dip Pen Nanotech, and the DNA machines of Ned Seeman, all he could say is "Until I see it I won't believe it can be done."
                                     
                                    Chris and all, what are some good proofs and pieces of evidence you would bring up in such a discussion?
                                     
                                    Someone else says "buckytubes will never be allowed because they are like asbestos to the body, poison." But that is not proven. Also, diamondoid, sapphire, and other components are biochemically inert as shown by Robert Freitas and others.
                                     
                                     




                                    --
                                    Chris Phoenix
                                    cphoenix@...
                                    650-776-5195

                                    Executive Coach
                                    Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org







                                    --
                                    Chris Phoenix
                                    cphoenix@...
                                    650-776-5195

                                    Executive Coach
                                    Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org

                                  • Erin Casson
                                    The INCA system, Inter-Nodal-Connector-Architecture, essentially allows the fabrication of spherical, dome shaped and other geometric structures, from the
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Jan 27, 2010
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                                      The INCA system, Inter-Nodal-Connector-Architecture, essentially allows the fabrication of spherical, dome shaped and other geometric structures, from the molecular to the macroscopic level. With it a new world of assembly, materials, and machines is opened, such as Self-Erecting/Collapsible structures that when unfolded are strong, tough, and resilient, more so than many "solid" structures.
                                       
                                      A series of INCA domes within domes connected together would be able to withstand almost any level of earthquake, tornado, or hurricane that can be thrown at it.
                                       
                                      This is one way to implement MNT, possibly, using the INCA architecture.
                                       
                                      It is, after all, based on the carbon fullerene molecule.
                                       
                                      Your thoughts on this system would be appreciated.
                                       
                                      Question: How "universal" and general could molecular manufacturing systems be? Limited to one or a few basic molecule types, or, a system more akin to the replicator of Star Trek that can assemble nearly any chemically stable product it has the blueprints, energy, and atoms for? Depends primarilly on the tool tips?
                                       
                                       

                                    • Erin Casson
                                      I m an advocate for covering cities with domes made from tough, light, transparent materials, in order to have year-round comfortable controlled temperatures
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Jan 30, 2010
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                                        I'm an advocate for covering cities with domes made from tough, light, transparent materials, in order to have year-round comfortable controlled temperatures and weather conditions.
                                         
                                        A good overview on this is here:
                                         
                                        What are some possibilities with moderate nanotech and advanced nanotech as far as this goes? I can envision moderate nanotech enabling the mass production of diamondoid polymers or nanostructured plastic composites(or nano glass?) that could fit the role. Supposedly the issue won't be heating it but cooling it.
                                         
                                        Aside from technical issues, what are some nontech objections people would or could make?
                                         
                                         

                                      • Erin Casson
                                        An interesting thread of discussion that has been dealt with on other forums over years has to do with the use of currency in a nanotech-enabled world. If we
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Jan 30, 2010
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                                          An interesting thread of discussion that has been dealt with on other forums over years has to do with the use of currency in a nanotech-enabled world. If we have self-manufacturing machine systems what use would there be for money or currency? If everyone has their own personal nanofactory, and local areas/neighborhoods have nanofactories, things become very decentralized. Apart from people choosing to congregate in cities and have global networks, the trends of globalism for manufacturing and distribution of goods would be reversed. I see this as a good thing in many respects.
                                           
                                          However, the question still remains: How would people be reimbursed for their efforts and work, even if those jobs are service and information based?
                                           
                                          (Lets assume the idea of human or beyond human level AI is not doable, so that humans always remain the only ones able to create new designs and write software code for the machines)
                                           
                                          Example: Say I write code for a new nano CAD program to build a special nanotech based chair, and I desire something in return for giving this software package to the human race. What sorts of currency would I receive? Or would it be purely a recognition-based thing, and self-betterment thing, like "I will put this software out there for your use, in return I receive fame/recognition in the eyes of fellow humans"?
                                           
                                          There are, ofcourse, physical limits that even the most advanced assemblers could not exceed: 1 Thermodynamic limits. No free lunch. Nanotech will require energy; that energy could be cheap, such as solar based, but they do need energy inputs. This also leads to limits on the speed of assembly, etc.
                                          2 Control limits. Nanotech cannot rearrange atomic nuclei, or the components of nuclei such as protons, neutrons, and any smaller components. Nanotech machines cannot perform nuclear level transmutation, such as turning iron into gold. So perhaps for a while "precious" metals like gold and platinum would be useful as currency. The idea of using nanomachines to filter gold from the oceans and dirt would be very energy intensive and take a longer time, though there are asteroids in space with platinum group metals, and, the lunar surface has this.
                                           
                                          Another issue: Once a new software program is written and out there on the net, it is out. People will download it and make use of it.
                                           
                                          An interesting site that discusses this concept in the fictional Star Trek universe is here: Perhaps the author raises some good points relevant to this question about nanotech economics and currency:
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           

                                        • tom@tomtalleur.com
                                          Eric: You raise some interesting sociological questions which would take a short book to answer. Legions of philosophers along with the founders of the US
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Jan 31, 2010
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                                            Eric:

                                            You raise some interesting sociological questions which would take a short book to answer.  Legions of philosophers along with the founders of the US federal constitutional republic could spend weeks going around about this question on currency as it begs the very structure of societies and governance.  

                                            I'm not sure anyone can accurately predict what the answer to your question about currency might be around year 2100 which is the end point for my research right now.  I suspect we'll see a mature extension of the pattern we see today: using an embedded and fully transparent automated transaction infrastructure for a system of debits and credits unless and until we change our economic model (capitalism vs socialism, and modifications thereto).

                                            Isn't it interesting that the author (re the link you provide) implies a communistic-type system?  Somehow, we may infer, we may assume this future society has avoided the de-motivating nature of this form of governance leading to the societal malaise so notable in the Soviet Union.  And, I think Eric Fromm would assert that mankind will continue to become alienated from their inherent character in a democratic, capitalistic society.

                                            On the issue of self manufacturing, we'll see nations controlling this process through law, rule, regulation, policing and embedded anti-counterfeiting policies much like we see today until underlying structures change.  And, we'll see the criminals look for methods to circumvent controls as we do today.  We will see limits on the ability of citizens to acquire the capabilities to duplicate prohibited functions for the greater good of societies (much as we see with nuclear weapons, bomb-making, and satellite imagery capabilities today).

                                            Well, there's a lot to speak to and I'll cut my comments off here as I need to get back to my work.  Regards ...


                                            -----Original Message-----
                                            From: Erin Casson [mailto:solidstatefusion@...]
                                            Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2010 08:49 PM
                                            To: CRNtalk@yahoogroups.com
                                            Subject: [CRNtalk] Nanotech, Replicator Society and Money

                                             

                                            An interesting thread of discussion that has been dealt with on other forums over years has to do with the use of currency in a nanotech-enabled world. If we have self-manufacturing machine systems what use would there be for money or currency? If everyone has their own personal nanofactory, and local areas/neighborhoods have nanofactories, things become very decentralized. Apart from people choosing to congregate in cities and have global networks, the trends of globalism for manufacturing and distribution of goods would be reversed. I see this as a good thing in many respects.
                                             
                                            However, the question still remains: How would people be reimbursed for their efforts and work, even if those jobs are service and information based?
                                             
                                            (Lets assume the idea of human or beyond human level AI is not doable, so that humans always remain the only ones able to create new designs and write software code for the machines)
                                             
                                            Example: Say I write code for a new nano CAD program to build a special nanotech based chair, and I desire something in return for giving this software package to the human race. What sorts of currency would I receive? Or would it be purely a recognition- based thing, and self-betterment thing, like "I will put this software out there for your use, in return I receive fame/recognition in the eyes of fellow humans"?
                                             
                                            There are, ofcourse, physical limits that even the most advanced assemblers could not exceed: 1 Thermodynamic limits. No free lunch. Nanotech will require energy; that energy could be cheap, such as solar based, but they do need energy inputs. This also leads to limits on the speed of assembly, etc.
                                            2 Control limits. Nanotech cannot rearrange atomic nuclei, or the components of nuclei such as protons, neutrons, and any smaller components. Nanotech machines cannot perform nuclear level transmutation, such as turning iron into gold. So perhaps for a while "precious" metals like gold and platinum would be useful as currency. The idea of using nanomachines to filter gold from the oceans and dirt would be very energy intensive and take a longer time, though there are asteroids in space with platinum group metals, and, the lunar surface has this.
                                             
                                            Another issue: Once a new software program is written and out there on the net, it is out. People will download it and make use of it.
                                             
                                            An interesting site that discusses this concept in the fictional Star Trek universe is here: Perhaps the author raises some good points relevant to this question about nanotech economics and currency:
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             

                                          • Erin Casson
                                            The first nanofactories and industrial assembler systems will likely be special purpose units that require special inputs of chemical fuel and prefahricated
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Apr 20 6:41 AM
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                                              The first nanofactories and industrial assembler systems will likely be special purpose units that require special inputs of chemical fuel and prefahricated building blocks, and which will require special programming. Their productive output will likely be very limited, but as time goes on and as the systems are refined they will gradually become more and more general purpose in their input and output as well.
                                               
                                              We should expect early products to be things such as computer chips, inert, simple structural materials such as diamond fiber beams and household goods such as diamondoid flatware (stronger harder tougher and lighter than steels and does not rust ever, nearly indestructable).
                                               
                                              The products will become more complex, more intricate, and "smarter", such as shape-changing active materials and robotics and much more.
                                               
                                              Ultimately there is no reason why nanofactories could not be designed to produce food items. The early systems will not be able to, though.
                                               
                                              Would you all tend to agree with the above, as related to some of the limitations and products on early nanofactories?
                                               
                                               

                                            • Chris Phoenix
                                              Sorry for the delayed response... There are several different dimensions of what can be built. One is the materials used. One is the complexity of the product.
                                              Message 22 of 22 , May 18, 2010
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                                                Sorry for the delayed response...

                                                There are several different dimensions of what can be built. One is the materials used. One is the complexity of the product. One is the size of the product. There are others, but let's stick with those three.

                                                The first nanofactories will build special materials with special inputs, as you say. The materials may not be high performance (e.g. DNA rather than diamondoid).

                                                By the time we get to nanofactories that can build macroscopic objects, we will probably be able to build very complex objects. If we can build a diamondoid fork using a nanofactory, we can probably expect to build motors and computers out of diamondoid, and integrate them into e.g. a mini-airplane. (This may not be as true for other materials - DNA motors are slow and weak.)

                                                Chris

                                                On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 6:41 AM, Erin Casson <solidstatefusion@...> wrote:
                                                 

                                                The first nanofactories and industrial assembler systems will likely be special purpose units that require special inputs of chemical fuel and prefahricated building blocks, and which will require special programming. Their productive output will likely be very limited, but as time goes on and as the systems are refined they will gradually become more and more general purpose in their input and output as well.
                                                 
                                                We should expect early products to be things such as computer chips, inert, simple structural materials such as diamond fiber beams and household goods such as diamondoid flatware (stronger harder tougher and lighter than steels and does not rust ever, nearly indestructable).
                                                 
                                                The products will become more complex, more intricate, and "smarter", such as shape-changing active materials and robotics and much more.
                                                 
                                                Ultimately there is no reason why nanofactories could not be designed to produce food items. The early systems will not be able to, though.
                                                 
                                                Would you all tend to agree with the above, as related to some of the limitations and products on early nanofactories?
                                                 
                                                 




                                                --
                                                Chris Phoenix
                                                cphoenix@...
                                                650-776-5195

                                                Founder, http://OnePercentGlobal.org
                                                Executive Coach
                                                Director of Research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, http://CRNano.org

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